Pullen has served as a teacher, principal and school superintendent in Cherokee, as well as chairman of the Canton planning and zoning board and serving on Rep. Phil Gingrey’s education advisory committee, among other positions. His background in education contributed to his decision to run in the special election.
“I’ve been helping young people for about 32 years prepare for the future, and due to recent economic conditions with people unemployed and under employed, I’ve decided I need to be preparing the future for our young people. So I want to try and help that,” Pullen said.
Education and job growth are his top priorities, Pullen continued. He believes the two issues are connected, as companies look for a qualified, educated workforce when they are considering where to make an investment.
“I feel like I can research the issues,” Pullen said of his candidacy. “God has blessed me with the ability to work with people, and so I think I can work with constituents and understand their needs and try to express their needs in Atlanta.”
Pullen said he had been considering running for Barry Loudermilk’s former seat for some time.
“Well, I’ve had people over the years to ask me to consider running for city council or school board or several other things, and I knew Sen. Loudermilk was planning to resign from his Senate seat, but I wasn’t expecting him to do it until after the general session in Atlanta,” he said. “So I thought I had a little bit more time and I was going to talk to a few more people and try to take time and make my decision.
“But, when he announced, it just seemed like the time was right, and I talked to my family and talked to a few people that I had a lot of faith and confidence in and was encouraged to do it. I’ve had a positive response from most everyone I know. We’re excited and moving forward.”
This week Pullen spent three days speaking with Bartow County residents and community leaders to introduce himself. He plans to visit both Bartow County and the small section of Cobb County throughout his campaign so he is aware of what the district needs.
“I want to be sure that everyone understand that, should I be elected, I plan to be a senator for the entire district. I plan to spend as much time in Bartow and Cobb as I do in Cherokee. Just because Cherokee’s my home does not mean that it will monopolize my time,” Pullen said.
With the special election now including three other candidates — Bruce Thompson, Matt Laughridge and Nicole Ebbeskotte — Pullen said he welcomes the competition.
“Well, the competition, that’s part of the American political process. That’s fine. Competition’s not necessarily bad. We want to be sure, as a citizen in the district, I want the best person to get the job. Of course, I’m prejudice, I think that’s me, but other people may have other opinions. It’s nice to have several qualified candidates to choose from. With the field getting larger, that increases the chances of a runoff, which will allow you to find out even more about the two finalists,” he said.